Neil Young's Pono Kickstarter launched yesterday, and in less than 24 hours has surpassed $1.5 million in funding. This easily exceeds the campaign's goal of $800,000. At the time of this publication, the campaign has raised exactly $1,797,239.
The main item Pono is offering is the first edition Pono music player. These have been marked at a $400 retail value, and are selling for $300 through the Kickstarter campaign. There were 100 players set aside as an early bird special at $200, which quickly sold out.
There are also limited edition laser engraved Artist Signature Series Pono players, featuring signatures by Neil Young, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Tom Petty, Foo Fighters, Willie Nelson, Patti Smith, Arcade Fire, Beck, Dave Mathews Band, Herbie Hancock, Norah Jones, Lenny Kravitz, and Pearl Jam. Another special package through the Kickstarter was a "VIP Dinner & Listening Party with Neil Young" including 1 night at the Half Moon Bay Ritz Carlton with a limited number of 30 spots going for $5,000 each. That has also sold out in the first day.
The Pono player plays all the most popular types of audio files (FLAC, ALAC, mp3, WAV, AIFF, AAC). However, it's been specifically designed for high quality FLAC files that are over 4 times higher resolution than the Compact Disc standard of 44.1kbps at 16-bit depth. These high resolution files will be available through the Pono Store. So far, there's been no word on when the Pono Store will launch. The website says that high-resolution albums will cost between $14.99 and $24.99.
Yesterday at SXSW in Austin, Texas, Neil Young and his team took part in an event to promote Pono. You can hear the audio of that at NPR Music.
For Neil Young's latest music, news, and tour dates, check out his Zumic artist page.